Veterans Helping Veterans: EY Network Streamlines Transition to Corporate World

By Deanna C. White
 
Since 2012, Ernst & Young LLP has advanced its commitment to supporting veterans by joining the 100,000 Jobs Mission, a coalition comprised of leading corporations committed to hiring 100,000 transitioning service members and military veterans by 2020.
 
To date, EY has made good on that promise by hiring approximately 215 veterans since joining the Mission, and supporting all the men and women who have so selflessly served their country by encouraging other industries to hire veterans as well. 
 
"The men and women who serve in the military never hesitate to give more, inspiring EY to continually seek new ways to strengthen its support of veterans and honor their commitment to our country," said Nancy Altobello, EY Americas vice chair, Talent. "Our business benefits tremendously from the leadership skills, work ethic, mission focus, and teaming abilities veterans bring to our firm."
 
But EY knows that simply bringing veterans in the front door isn't enough. EY also believes it's critical to support veterans as they make the transition from the "battlefield to the boardroom." That's why, as EY continues to strategically bring more veterans into the fold, it has also redoubled its efforts to strengthen its existing support networks for veterans and their families.
 
The cornerstone of that network, EY officials say, is the EY Veterans Network, a professional network created by EY veterans to help them connect, support one another in the organization, and build personal and professional bonds over their ultimate bond: their service to their country.
 
It's a program that has earned praise from transitioning veterans and their family members at EY and has been an example for other companies that want to show their gratitude for those who have served by making the transition from military life as seamless and successful as possible.
 
And the anchor of the Veterans Network, many EY veterans say, is the Veterans Peer Mentoring Program  a program that pairs veterans with veterans to help them recognize the parallels between their military skills and the corporate playing field. 
 
"Our first goal was to make sure a veterans organization existed, and then to create a formal peer mentoring program to allow current EY employees who are veterans to reach out to new veteran hires and help them make the transition," said Joe McHugh, executive director of Advisory Services at EY, US Navy veteran, and a cofounder of the EY Veterans Network and the Veterans Peer Mentoring Program. "There's something special about a veteran bond; it's a lifelong connection because of what you've been through. We wanted to give our veterans a safe haven, a comfort zone, where they could ask questions and get advice from someone familiar with their experience as they make the transition to their civilian career."
 
Today, just three years after the Veterans Network was formalized, McHugh said it has helped make the transition from the military to the civilian workforce a little easier, and a lot more seamless, for more than 400 EY veterans and their families.
 
It's a transition that is critical to master, McHugh said, because of the invaluable skill set and tested leadership abilities veterans bring to the organization.
 
"Veterans are adaptable. They are leaders by trade. They are trained to solve any problem, and that works very well in our consulting environment. Many of them also have global experience so they can easily adapt to different cultures," McHugh said. "We give them the technical training, and in return, we are able to take advantage of their maturity, their leadership skills, their work ethic, and their ability to take on any task."

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